After both teams ventured out into cup competitions over the past week, West Ham and Newcastle return to league actions, with their roles reversed from past seasons, as Newcastle are the team now vying for Europe, whilst West Ham are trying to escape a relegation battle.
Both Newcastle fans and players will be buzzing coming into this game, as they reached their first cup final since 1999 in midweek, beating Southampton in both legs to book a trip to the Carabao Cup final for a chance to win their first major trophy since 1955.
Newcastle definitely brought their Premier League form into their cup games, which is good for them as their league form has been outstanding this season, only losing once this season, the joint least in the league, and are currently 15 games unbeaten in the league, with their defence carrying them to a potential Champions League finish.
The Magpies’ defence this season has not just been down to individuals, but a team effort, with their midfield and attack winning the ball high up the pitch, but when their defenders are relied upon, they do their job almost perfectly, which is why they have conceded only 11 goals in the league this season, the least of any team, and have kept the most clean sheets with 12.
Kieran Trippier has been influential defensively for Newcastle, but offensively he has also been magnificent this season, and whilst somehow he has only 4 assists in the league this season, he has the second most chances created in the league and second most big chances created in the league.
West Ham’s adventures in the cup have been a good distraction from the league, where the expectations were very high entering the season, but it has not clicked yet, with them sitting 16th in the table, and whilst a routine 2-0 win over League One Derby County may not seem significant, it may give the team a boost to return to the form that got them back-to-back European finishes.
West Ham’s last league outing was their first successful one in a while, beating Everton 2-0 at home, ending a run of seven league games without a win, losing six of them and it was also their first clean sheet in seven games which moved them out of the relegation zone by just a point.
What is worrying for West Ham in this game is that they are playing the league’s best defence, with an attack that has severely struggled this season for consistency, only scoring 17 goals in 20 games, with their top scorer in the league this season being Jarrod Bowen with four goals, who is currently in a bit of scoring form for the first time this season, scoring twice against Everton and netting in the cup against Derby.
The meeting between these teams was postponed earlier this season, making this the first matchup between the teams this season, and hopefully, for neutrals, this matchup will be like some of their previous games, with four of their last six meetings having four or more goals, with Newcastle getting the better of the results, winning three of the games, with West Ham only winning once.
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